Around this time last year, I read the excellent book The Crossroads of Should and Must: Find and Follow Your Passion by Elle Luna. Along with the release of her book, she launched the #100DayProject with The Great Discontent. I launched my own project focused on #100HoursOfPainting, but quickly realized the challenges of making a commitment based on time versus producing a tangible thing (you don’t do it!).
Attempting to paint for one hour a day seemed like an easy feat, especially on days when I would be able to put in 3 – 5 hours and get ahead of the daily schedule. It was great while I was doing grand jury duty and could paint between 5 – 8 am every morning, but then I started a new job and trying to fit in an hour within an already overly packed schedule was too much.
I also realized that the point of the project is not just to commit to sitting down every day to work on a project, but to produce a completed piece and feel a sense of accomplishment.
This year my project is #100DaysofGesture, focusing on a loose style of sketching usually used for warming up before figure drawing. I always liked the unfinished feeling of drawings done in gesture sketching style and how it has a dreamlike quality. It’s likely that most of the drawings will be portraits of people, whether from real life or photographs.
Throughout college and the past few years, I always liked going to drink-n-draws and figure drawing sessions, drawing from family photographs, and experimenting with capturing a person’s mood or expression in the sketch. I remember the summer I was interning in Chicago (and was incredibly broke) when I would spend my time riding the train and sketching strangers on the subway. It was fantastic practice in being able to capture how someone looked as quickly (and conspicuously) as possible.
I also have done a series of paintings based on photos of myself and one of my sisters from childhood. The focus hasn’t always been to make sure the paintings “look just like us”, but more so to capture the childlike quality of our expressions in those photos. Recently I was visiting my parents and discovered a large box of photographs from my childhood, so I’ll have ample inspiration for this project. I’ve also been wanting to focus on sketching and possibly caricature for an upcoming project I’m working on.
The challenge of this project for me is to share work right away, and only having one day at the most to tweak and perfect it. Having to post it on Instagram publicly will leave my project open to criticism, but it’s better than never showing anything at all.
You can follow my project on Instagram through #100DaysofGesture.